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Katia Kapustin

Yasmine Naghdi, Principal, The Royal Ballet

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I first saw Principal ballerina Yasmine Naghdi perform here in the States when she was on tour with The Royal Ballet. Her beautiful physique and pure, clean, classical style of dancing grabbed my attention. On a recent stay in London I was lucky enough to see Naghdi dance Odette/Odile in the new Scarlett version of "Swan Lake". Commentators on a UK Ballet forum were raving about her and I found myself agreeing with all the comments! She was stunning to say the very least and I loved her performance with fellow RB Principal  Frederico Bonelli. Naghdi is one of a kind, standing out amongst the current Principals as their youngest one (together with Francesca Hayward, another much talked about young principal). These two principals have a very different style of dancing and an entirely different physique. Naghdi is the most ballerina like of the two, in style, technique, facilities, and the highly classical repertoire such as Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker, amongst others, suit her superbly well as do the MacMillan dramatic ballets such as Romeo&Juliet (she was a sensation in London when she danced her debut with Matthew Ball in 2015).  Hayward is more of an Ashton dancer but she is also good in the MacMillan roles.  These two Royal Ballet School trained principals come out of the same year group and the UK ballet goers are so very lucky to have those two wonderful principals and to enjoy seeing them on the Covent Garden ROH stage. I hope the RB plans to come back to the USA very soon.

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 I also loved Naghdi on their tour though I only got to see her featured in Mcgregor, so I could hardly get a feel for what she is like as a classical ballerina — video of her rehearsing for her debut in Sleeping Beauty posted by the ROH gives a hint though and I have been reading raves fir her dancing as well.

I also was in the UK this summer as you were and saw the new Swan Lake. Unfortunately the week I was there her only performance was a “schools matinee” and thus not on sale to the public —I was very disappointed about that. I do hope to see her in the future! 

Edited by Drew
I misunderstood the title of thread as an announcement.

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I agree with you, Katia.  This young lady IS special.  It was as Ogla (opposite Matthew Ball's Lensky) that she really first stood out for me as the TOTAL package (and never have those over the shoulder lifts looked so easy as Ball made them appear.)  Then there was her performance in MacMillan's The Invitation - a hugely focused dramatic powerhouse - as was her Madame Mistress in Manon; her life ravishing Juliet (again opposite Ball); her entirely victorious Aurora and, most recently, her unalloyed joy in dancing the Symphony in C 4th Movement segment at the Spring Gala.  She glowed as if she had come home - and even led the curtain calls for the assembled company (mit guests - including NYCB wayward son, Robbie Fairchild) bringing them forward out of naught but her own enthusiasm.  The future does indeed look brighter with Naghdi in our breach.  

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Having not seen this discussion, Here, I posted this, There. (New Royal Ballet Swan Lake, page 3). Having liked what I saw on a video clip very much I’ll post it again, Here. Cheers.,

Thank you, Katia. Not knowing Yasmine Naghdi at all, but unable to resist comments like this, I looked at the only video I could find that shows much dancing. She has lovely long lines that almost float at fully extended highlights. I look forward to seeing her some day.

Here is the video as posted by The Royal Ballet.

Yasmine Naghdi and Matthew Ball rehearse The Sleeping Beauty (The Royal Ballet)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TL7em0GEsBQ

Here’s an interview posted by a ’sponsor.’ She seems quite charming.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxfsOx0jkpU

Edited by Buddy
same spelling correction that I made, There

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While I think that Naghdi is the more classical of the two dancers and possibly the stronger technically Kevin has taken care when casting both Naghdi and Hayward . Hayward's first featured role was the ballerina role in Rhapsody dancing with Hay. back  in 2012. Hay is a wonderful dancer with a wide range who is a beautiful classical dancer but likely to be held back by his lack of height. Like McRae and Campbell he needs care taken over who he partners because of his height and they are both ahead of him in the queue to dance with Takada. As Hay and Hayward can dance Ashton idiomatically they made Rhapsody look like a beautiful ballet rather than the tough technical exercise which Osipova and McRae made it appear to be. Hayward has also danced Juliet and Manon to considerable acclaim and during last season she made her debut as SPF and Aurora dancing with Campbell and as Lise with Sambe as her Colas and later in the season as Titania again dancing opposite Sambe. Both Hayward's Lise and her Titania were important achievements for the company. Her Titatnia was one of the best I have seen since Sibley relinquished the role. 

Both Naghdi and Hayward were cast in Emeralds and in Tarantella. Their Tarantella performances were outrageously good. Hayward and Sambe brought the house down on the first night of the mixed bill in which it was included and Naghdi and Zucchetti achieved the same effect when they danced it. In both of these casts it was the women who used their musicality to achieve their effects. I honestly think that the audience would have felt that they had had a good evening's entertainment if the performance had stopped there and then. After those two pairings the Campbell Hinkis cast, which was good seemed more than a little bland and rather tame. It will be interesting to see which dancers from the RB dance at the gala.

The promotions are eagerly awaited. I might suggest that other names  to look out from among the women are O'Sullivan who danced three different fairy variations. Princess Florine and one of Florestan's sisters with great success  during the last run of Beauty, made an unscheduled debut as Alice at the beginning of the season as well as dancing in the pas de trois in Lac; a young Japanese dancer called Chisato; Stix-Brunell who is outstanding in everything she does and always gives a performance and Heap who does the same thing, She seems to me to be cast in the Mason mould. Among the men there is Bracewell who transferred from BRB and made an excellent debut as Siegfried during this run replacing MacRae. He is clearly someone to watch as is Clarke who came to notice a couple of seasons ago dancing the Somes' role in Symphonic Variations; danced the prince in Beauty and Nutcracker last season and was impressive as Aminta and De Grieux dancing opposite Cuthbertson this season. If the casting of the role of Polixenes is anything to go by then Braensrad's name needs to be added to the list as he was one of the four men cast in this significant secondary role during the latest run of The Winter's Tale the others were Ball, Bracewell and Clarke.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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Thank you Ashton Fan for all the information on those two current RB stars and also possibly the ones of the future. You are so lucky in the UK to have the Royal Ballet and I wish I could see them more often. I have totally fallen in love with their style of dancing. The RB dancers have such an ability to completely draw you (or shall I say suck you) into the story of a ballet.

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It is unfortunate that because of ROH's tougher policies towards videotaping of performances their wonderful young dancers do not get as much international exposure through the Internet as many of their mostly Russian counterparts of whom there are lots of videos on YT. I am so curious to see Naghdi or Hayward, but will have to go all the way to London, or hope and wait for a guest stint in NY.

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Believe me, those two are every bit as good as they are cracked up to be.

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The cinema screenings are great way to see them if you're outside the UK.

Hayward has danced Clara in the last four Nutcracker relays, and Naghdi the Rose Fairy in two of them, including the most recent one.

There's a new Clara for the relay this December - Anna Rose O'Sullivan - but we don't know who the Rose Fairy will be. Naghdi and Choe have taken turns for the past four relays, so there's a chance it may be Naghdi this year too.

Hayward is dancing the Sugar Plum Fairy for this run, but not in the relay. And of course, she is one of Siegfried's sisters in the Swan Lake screening. 

At one point, landing on one knee, she keeled backwards too far and almost fell, but otherwise she was one of the loveliest things in that performance.

Edited by rhys
phrasing

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Yasmine Naghdi is scheduled to dance the Sugar Plum Fairy on 12 and 15 December with the Australian Principal Kevin Jackson. As a Principal ballerina she may dance the Rose Fairy in the Nunez/Muntagirov Opening Night cast, as she did last year.

Yasmine Naghdi will also be dancing her debut as Gamzatti in "La Bayadere" with Akane Takada as Nikya and Steven McRae as Solor

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The Gamzatti debut sounds very enticing. She is one of my favorite characters. And to see a rising young star in this role may be too good of a chance to pass. Looks like it is time to splash some of my savings on a London adventure.

Edited by Fleurdelis

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I think that many London ballet goers are waiting with great interest to see which of the talented younger dancers, other than Hayward and  Naghdi, are going to pop up in the ballets scheduled in the next booking period such as Les Patineurs  and The Two Pigeons. They will provide Kevin with some great opportunities to develop the careers of dancers such as O'Sullivan, Yudes and Sissens. As far as Naghdi and Hayward are concerned I shall be very surprised if Naghdi does not make her debut as Kitri and Hayward hers as the Young Girl in Pigeons. 

Edited by Ashton Fan

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Naghdi is certainly going to show her range in the Japanese programme and with any luck the fact that she is dancing the reconciliation pas de deux from Pigeons means that there is a good chance of seeing her dance the Young Girl when the ballet is next performed in London. I should like to see her dance both female leads in that ballet as Margaret Barbieri did most successfully. The speculation in London is that Ball is next in line for promotion to Principal which might improve the chances of London audiences seeing even more of the Naghdi, Ball partnership.

Edited by Ashton Fan

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Naghdi is not cast to dance with Ball in the first half of Season 2018-2019 and on the ROH website it shows that Ball, who's been the Prince to Naghdi's Sugar Plum in the past, is now replaced by an Australian Principal Kevin Jackson? Besides the "Romeo&Juliet" worldwide cinema relay poster - on which they both feature - what will they dance together next Season?  

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